One of the things I love about my job is the chance to learn something new every day.
A few months ago we were given a new drug protocol which included administering hydrocortisone to patients in Addison's Crisis. To be perfectly honest, not only did I not know what it was, I'd never even heard of it until a few months ago. At the time I did a little bit of homework to find out a little bit more, but it was all a little bit theoretical as I'd never seen a patient with this condition. The condition itself is called Addison's Disease and you can read all about it here.
There's never an opportunity in the life of a paramedic to say "I've seen it all", as any time you even contemplate the thought, something new gets thrown in your direction. Having never met a patient with Addison's before we were allowed, or even knew how to treat it, I was pleased that we were able to help Gillian last night. She's spent the last few months having test after test with no answers until very recently when Addison's was diagnosed, and last night she had another crisis.
One of the problems with Addison's is that it presents differently with every patient so can be difficult to spot early. The symptoms vary greatly, but on the balance of probabilities Gillian was mid-crisis, so we checked our guidelines and administered the hydrocortisone. The effect was almost like magic. Within a very short space of time the patient's observations began to stabilise, she began to feel much better, and was much calmer in herself at the thought of being on her way to hospital for further treatment.
To top it all off, it was nice to hear Gillian's mum say that after several months of losing all hope, the Ambulance Service restored her faith in the NHS. I hope she manages to find a treatment plan that suits her and allows her to carry on with as normal a life as possible.